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Any New Break-throughs With Ecu Hacking?


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#1 Chris Taylor

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 04:17 PM

I've been researching on hacking the Motronic 4.3 system but haven't gotten too far. Perhaps I'm not searching for the correct terms. There seems to be a lot of dead ends to this mystery.

This thread looked promising but ended up passing on:
http://volvospeed.co...showtopic=18585

Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone has had any break-throughs since then, in figuring how to reflash our ECU or break the code down on the stock software and burn their own chips? (not for resale of course) I think this topic needs to be brought back from the dead and continued. Especially with the prices of the multiple chips on the market and stand alone systems. While some are reasonable they aren't tailored for specific vehicle hardware, unless you are willing to pay for the multiple updates it takes to tune out all of the bugs.
Is there any new Motronic flash Software for the DIY oriented? Please discuss...
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#2 Boost3237

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 04:56 PM

QUOTE(Fool @ Jul 12 2007, 12:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've been researching on hacking the Motronic 4.3 system but haven't gotten too far. Perhaps I'm not searching for the correct terms. There seems to be a lot of dead ends to this mystery.

This thread looked promising but ended up passing on:
http://volvospeed.co...showtopic=18585

Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone has had any break-throughs since then, in figuring how to reflash our ECU or break the code down on the stock software and burn their own chips? (not for resale of course) I think this topic needs to be brought back from the dead and continued. Especially with the prices of the multiple chips on the market and stand alone systems. While some are reasonable they aren't tailored for specific vehicle hardware, unless you are willing to pay for the multiple updates it takes to tune out all of the bugs.
Is there any new Motronic flash Software for the DIY oriented? Please discuss...



from what i know if u hack motornic 4.3 you get a gold star cos again atleast what i know is its not quite possible
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#3 Chris Taylor

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 05:06 PM

QUOTE(Boost3237 @ Jul 12 2007, 12:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
from what i know if u hack motornic 4.3 you get a gold star cos again atleast what i know is its not quite possible


It's certainly possible. It just requires deciphering the original software to find the fuel and ignition maps, and/or fooling the car into thinking it is in diagnostic mode with a daughter board linked to the original eprom so that it'll read a reflashed chip.

Since ST, Rica, and various other's are already soldering in their own reflashed chip then it's only a matter of us breaking down Volvo's OEM software and reconfiguring it with a program built to allow for real time adjustments.
Sharing the knowledge seems to be the biggest hurtle. When one person figures it out they decide to make money off of it and sell their "performance ECU upgrade" rather than telling others how they can DIY for less than $100.

Edited by Fool, 12 July 2007 - 05:08 PM.

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#4 550

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 05:33 PM

There are people on the boards who know the fuel maps and stuff like that.
It would be nice to make ourselves a ROM editor
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#5 Chris Taylor

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 06:01 PM

QUOTE(550 @ Jul 12 2007, 01:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are people on the boards who know the fuel maps and stuff like that.
It would be nice to make ourselves a ROM editor


Couldn't we use a generic ROM editor then?

Perhaps something along these lines?
http://www.atlllc.co...Motronic Editor
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#6 drlava

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 07:57 PM

If someone sends me a broken (or not) ECU, I'll gladly desolder the ROM and post the image, that's a start. I have some small experience in this area.

What is the main CPU used in the 4.3?

Edited by drlava, 12 July 2007 - 07:58 PM.


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#7 Chris Taylor

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 10:14 PM

Here's another thread that'll add to the discussion.

http://volvospeed.co...showtopic=14325
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Posted 12 July 2007 - 10:24 PM

Why bother? I mean come on, the 850 is basically a 15 year old car. Why would anyone bother trying to develop new ECU reflash technology for a 15 year old car when it can already be done by existing means such as bench flash or soldering? basically, it makes no economic sense whatsover!

#9 Chris Taylor

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 11:06 PM

QUOTE(? @ Jul 12 2007, 06:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Why bother? I mean come on, the 850 is basically a 15 year old car. Why would anyone bother trying to develop new ECU reflash technology for a 15 year old car when it can already be done by existing means such as bench flash or soldering? basically, it makes no economic sense whatsover!


Your math skills are off by a bit. It seems to make more economic sense than spending hundreds of $$$ for an existing conservative tune and then having to send it back for reflashing anytime you change a piece of hardware.

Lets look at the possibilities here for a moment. 850 owners group together, spending virtually pocket change and adding their time and resources to progress though figuring out what the 850 ECU is all about. Once we have some rough maps each person from that point on, who wanted to tune their own car for their own specific needs, can go out spend less than $100 for the hardware to modify their existing software. Then they are able to tune or have a tuning shop tune on the fly while the car is running in Real time. No need to add sensors, rewire the entire car's PCM/ECU, or spend hours on end figuring how to install a different system over or around the current system.

A motronic system may not have all of the bells and whistles of a performance oriented stand alone unit when it comes to nitrous control, etc, but often it has better overall value to the tuner for data analysis and feedback. There are plenty of other automotive performance enthusiasts who are breaking barriers with their stock ECU's that were previously unheard of. Perhaps you should read into this technology more than criticizing it.
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#10 turbor850

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 11:11 PM

there is a guy who broke through and knows how to tune it to perfection, his name is Tony at EPL, but he won't give away any of his secrets, tune my car with a perfect a/f curve and made the upsolute tune look like a 10 year old did it

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#11 550

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 11:15 PM

Fool, I mean more like something with Hondas. Their rom editing is ridiculous. I mean, for free I can set up a boost map for a honda by just putting in numbers. Advance timing by just marking a check box and then putting in a value.
More of a specific rom editor that pretty much makes a nice program out of the jumble of code in the ECU. There are people who have made significant breakthroughs on it by themselves alone. But most of those people have not returned or not really pursued the issue as much due to other issues :-\
Now... if you wan't a rom I can get you a Rom. IIRC it was for a s70 t5 but I am not 100%
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Posted 12 July 2007 - 11:36 PM

QUOTE(Fool @ Jul 12 2007, 11:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Your math skills are off by a bit. It seems to make more economic sense than spending hundreds of $$$ for an existing conservative tune and then having to send it back for reflashing anytime you change a piece of hardware.

Lets look at the possibilities here for a moment. 850 owners group together, spending virtually pocket change and adding their time and resources to progress though figuring out what the 850 ECU is all about. Once we have some rough maps each person from that point on, who wanted to tune their own car for their own specific needs, can go out spend less than $100 for the hardware to modify their existing software. Then they are able to tune or have a tuning shop tune on the fly while the car is running in Real time. No need to add sensors, rewire the entire car's PCM/ECU, or spend hours on end figuring how to install a different system over or around the current system.

A motronic system may not have all of the bells and whistles of a performance oriented stand alone unit when it comes to nitrous control, etc, but often it has better overall value to the tuner for data analysis and feedback. There are plenty of other automotive performance enthusiasts who are breaking barriers with their stock ECU's that were previously unheard of. Perhaps you should read into this technology more than criticizing it.


The stuff you are talking about already exists! Tuning in real time on the fly - already exists! Information about all the maps - already exists!

What I was talking about is wasting time on developing a new flash solution, when we know that bench flashing and eprom reworking are two solutions that already exist and work perfectly well. So, rather than wasting resource on your own bespoke flash solution for a 15 year old car, why not just learn to solder!

Don't get me wrong, if you wanna do this, then do it. IMHO, it's not worth it.

#13 Chris Taylor

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 12:12 AM

QUOTE(? @ Jul 12 2007, 07:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The stuff you are talking about already exists! Tuning in real time on the fly - already exists! Information about all the maps - already exists!

What I was talking about is wasting time on developing a new flash solution, when we know that bench flashing and eprom reworking are two solutions that already exist and work perfectly well. So, rather than wasting resource on your own bespoke flash solution for a 15 year old car, why not just learn to solder!

Don't get me wrong, if you wanna do this, then do it. IMHO, it's not worth it.



So where can I find the information about how to flash this particular ECU without removing the eprom? The only people I know of, who can do such a thing is IPD/TME and they aren't willing to give that information to me. Why should they, when they're bringing in $700/ECU they modify? Yes, I know it already exists but it isn't widely available to the public. That is what I'm refering to. There will still be plenty of people who will buy from these other companies but for those who are willing to go all out on a stand alone this would be a great option for them. The more people are willing to share the more these engines are going to see high horsepower numbers in the future. I'm sure there will be the misguided who will end up blowing their own motor by screwing up their calculations or pushing their car too much, but that's the chance you have to take to break out of the box.
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#14 paulr

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 02:57 AM

I'm not sure if our ECU's are even capable of supporting a softloader / real-time tune over OBDII like the honda's support, or can be done via IPD softloader on 99+ cars. The processor just might not be capable, especially over OBDII. It might be possible to modify the ECU with a serial programming port, but I've never actually looked inside one.

That being said, even having the ability to interpret and modify the stock maps would be a major benefit... ROM burners aren't terribly expensive, and pulling the ECU, opening it, removing a socketed chip and reflashing is a hell of a lot easier than mailing it out and waiting 3-10 days. If you had a laptop you could probably pull this off in between runs at a track.

Comparing a stock tune with aftermarket ones might help identify the maps. They seemed to be on the right direction in that first thread referenced, but I didn't go past the first page since you said it was a dud.

Lastly with the success JDM has had with the tuning, it makes sense. Lots of people have them. In Japan there are a lot of tech-savvy people. In the rest of the world there are a lot of people who would rather sit up at night for 2 months straight coding C then pay $700 for something like RICA. Volvo performance is probably 1/1000 that of JDM, we're actually quite lucky to have as many options as we do. Trying to do anything performance / maintenance on my jag is an absolute nightmare, about the only solution anyone has is "drop a chevy 350 in" which is a shame because the 4L Jag engine has a lot of potential. Anyway, enough rambling... I don't think anyone's made any more progress with the 4.3 ECU's, but I think figuring out how the maps are encoded would be quite a lot of progress. Has anyone asked any of the "big boys" (RICA / IPD / TME / etc) for advice? And I mean specific technical questions not "help us not buy your product". They probably won't say a word, but we don't know until we ask...
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#15 crazykn

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 03:16 AM

I'm going to throw something in here, but the IPD softloader tool is most likely the ElmScan 5 USB scan tool (www.scantool.net) or the Auterra A-302 (http://allobd.com/Ca...talog_print.asp). The only difference is price and the custom software they used to control the scantool.

Logically the ElmScan 5 scantool makes sense to use, because of its easy to use/program nature. It would cost too much for MTE and iPd to build and sell their own scantool, if they did it would mostly likely built on the same platform as the Elmscan 5, using the ELM327 chip (which can do OBDII CAN data, making it useful for 2005+ volvos). The money the spent on this softloader product most likely lies in the custom software they used. I could be wrong on this... but the Auterra scantool is similiar, but different platform.

I cannot comment on the Auterra A-302, because I don't own that one. I own the ElmScan5. The reason why I bring that one up is because of similiar functionality and physical looks to the iPd Softloader.

Edited by crazykn, 13 July 2007 - 03:16 AM.

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#16 550

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 04:06 AM

Who is guest?
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#17 Geevs

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 05:42 AM

QUOTE(Fool @ Jul 12 2007, 01:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Couldn't we use a generic ROM editor then?

Perhaps something along these lines?
http://www.atlllc.co...Motronic Editor


Have you contacted the developer and asked if he has a version for ME 4.3 / 4.4? I think the difference between the Porsche ME and the Volvo ME is the location/offset of the map tables in the ROM.
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#18 Chris Taylor

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 06:45 PM

While it would be nice to use something like the IPD softloader It certainly won't work on our ECU. Who has real time datalogged from their OBD2 port in a 93-97 850?
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#19 maiku

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 06:57 PM

QUOTE(Fool @ Jul 13 2007, 11:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
While it would be nice to use something like the IPD softloader It certainly won't work on our ECU. Who has real time datalogged from their OBD2 port in a 93-97 850?

not to mention, who actually has an OBD2 port in a 93-94, and some 95 cars?

#20 Chris Taylor

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 07:01 PM

QUOTE(anitanium @ Jul 13 2007, 02:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
not to mention, who actually has an OBD2 port in a 93-94, and some 95 cars?



durrr I had a blonde moment there. . . laugh.gif Thanks for the correction
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