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Old 10-21-2010, 09:19 AM   #1
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Question Foot prints?

Interested in buying a chip/programmer but my Jeep has only has 5,000 miles on it. That means I have 95,000 more miles before my warranty is up. I'm wanting to keep the warranty of course but I also want the chip. I was wanting to know if I put a chip on my vehicle even after I return it to stock is there any way for them to find out that I had a chip on there? AKA "leaving foot prints". Or is there a certain kind that doesn't leave a foot print?

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Old 10-21-2010, 09:56 AM   #2
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Pretty sure that the Super Chips flashpaq can do a complete reverse to stock settings, actually I am positive that it doesn't leave any traces, unless of course you forget to change the settings back to stock before you take it to the dealership.

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Old 10-21-2010, 09:57 AM   #3
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The diablo tuners will not leave a trace when you flash them back to stock.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:10 AM   #4
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The programmers are a little cleaner as far as how they leave their footprints behind. But , even with that in mind , if a dealer really wants to spend the time with their diagnopstic equipment, they will be able to determine if a programmer was used, just takes a lot more efort in finding the footprint trails.

It is a Jeep, and a Chrysler Product, When it comes to my JK, I stay away from anything that would stop me from using my warranty.

I know that some members might disagree and say you can fight with the dealer, and the dealer needs to prove that the aftermarket part or parts made a part and or parts fail pre-mature, thus someties leaving your Jeep at the dealers for a day or days. Not worth it to me.

MY 2 Cents...
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:12 AM   #5
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Just go to your dealer and ask them what programmers are okay, and which ones are not. It is widely known by all including dealers that JKs are somewhat underpowered and programmers are the only reasonable way to get the power back. Hell my local dealer sells flashpaqs outta their shop.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:13 AM   #6
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if a dealer really wants to spend the time with their diagnopstic equipment, they will be able to determine if a programmer was used, just takes a lot more efort in finding the footprint trails.
Care to explain how this could be done? I have a decent background in dealing with flashing ecus and I have never heard of a way to do this. Its easy to see if the tune has been altered from stock, but if you flash the stock tune with the stock checksum i don't see any way that anybody would ever know.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:14 AM   #7
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Also, data interruption mid-transfer DOES happen, which will not only render the tuner useless, but your PCM as well. Not very common, but it does happen.
I've used the Superchips Flashpaq and the Diablosport Predator before, not impressed with either one for the cost. A custom dyno tune is ALWAYS better and any reputable shop will be happy to return you to stock tune if you have to take your Jeep in.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:26 AM   #8
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I have read many times they do leave a trace that u played outside the lines.

But never got a true ye or na
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:35 AM   #9
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Care to explain how this could be done? I have a decent background in dealing with flashing ecus and I have never heard of a way to do this. Its easy to see if the tune has been altered from stock, but if you flash the stock tune with the stock checksum i don't see any way that anybody would ever know.
The dealer has diagnostic equipment that can detect non writtable memory that eventhough the exact same programming be re-booted into the Jeeps computer is not the same frame parameter as the original proggraming at Chrysler at you Jeep's Birthdate.

If the repair needed is not that expensive you might be able to get away with it. But if it involves major engine repair and or other parts, they will put tracer equipment on your Jeep's computer, If those original Non -re writeablbe parameters are not detected that your programmer cannot put back, they will deny your warranty asap.

Do what you want to do, I love me Jeep, not finding fault with the product, But at the same time it is a Chrysler Product, and having a warranty, is a " Peroformance Boost" in my own piece of mind.

Not telling anyone not to buy and or install one, just saying be carefull in what you are doing , and that goes for any mod.


ALSO: IF YOUR DEALER TELLS YOU IT IS OK,, TELL THEM TO PUT IT IN WRITTING SIGNED BY THE OWNER OF THE DEALERSHIP. Without that , word of mouth is useless.

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Old 10-21-2010, 10:35 AM   #10
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many modern PCM's retain information from every time they're updated. if superchips' way around this is to completely wipe the data on the PCM, that tells me something.
you never know what kind of situation you may wind up in where you're not able to restore the stock tune before going in for service. even if you take it in for an oil change and they decide to apply a mandatory software update (which happens all the time with new cars), you could at the very least end up with a $400 brick of a tuner since the factory tune is now locked in it, rendering it useless to you and unable to be resold.
the companies that make these tuners are great at selling you their product, but seriously lacking in disclosing the risks.
by all means satisfy your curiosity, but don't complain if something goes wrong. you know the risks now.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:57 AM   #11
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the companies that make these tuners are great at selling you their product, but seriously lacking in disclosing the risks.
by all means satisfy your curiosity, but don't complain if something goes wrong. you know the risks now.[/QUOTE]

My point exactly, just a hell of a lot shorter,,,ha,ha,lol

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Old 10-21-2010, 11:12 AM   #12
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The dealer has diagnostic equipment that can detect non writtable memory that eventhough the exact same programming be re-booted into the Jeeps computer is not the same frame parameter as the original proggraming at Chrysler at you Jeep's Birthdate.
While i am not disagreeing with this... how do you know this for sure? I would think that a non-writeable parameter could not be changed by any means. What exactly do you mean by frame parameter?

Anybody with a flash tuner should ALWAYS flash back to stock before taking the vehicle in for service, or at least put red tape across the obdii port that says DO NOT FLASH.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:33 AM   #13
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While i am not disagreeing with this... how do you know this for sure? I would think that a non-writeable parameter could not be changed by any means. What exactly do you mean by frame parameter?

Anybody with a flash tuner should ALWAYS flash back to stock before taking the vehicle in for service, or at least put red tape across the obdii port that says DO NOT FLASH.
When I mentioned non - writtable , I ment that the only way to be re-written via Chrysler's Computer Equipment at your Jeep's Birth. . So in Lieu of that, no programmer on the market can re-write those sepecific codes. Some programmers are better than others, no doubt.

Going back to with my final statement as mentioned earlier, if the dealer has a very cost warranty replacement IE : Engine , they are going to check the computer. Depending how thorough they are , they can find a trace or foot print that another program has been running on their system.

when someone post , what can happen if i do this? They need to be advised on the reality on what can or cannot happen. It is up to them if they want to proceed with it. That is why this forum is awsome, you really can get really good REAL-TIME info PRO's / CON'S about any items / Items.


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Old 10-21-2010, 11:43 AM   #14
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Anybody with a flash tuner should ALWAYS flash back to stock before taking the vehicle in for service, or at least put red tape across the obdii port that says DO NOT FLASH.[/QUOTE]

I would not do that with the red tape on the OBD-II Connection. That is just a reason for them to ask you what are you doing with the connection,, bingo, you got caught.

Kinda like being pulled over by a cop, and telling the cop you were speeding I deserve the ticket. JUST SAYING

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Old 10-21-2010, 12:06 PM   #15
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When I mentioned non - writtable , I ment that the only way to be re-written via Chrysler's Computer Equipment at your Jeep's Birth. . So in Lieu of that, no programmer on the market can re-write those sepecific codes. Some programmers are better than others, no doubt.
I am still pretty new to the chrysler ecus, but i have extensive experience with ford stuff. I know for sure that I can write the exact same code as the dealer can, even down to the vid block. Do you work for a chrysler? How did you come across this information? (just wanting to learn more, not doubting you).

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I would not do that with the red tape on the OBD-II Connection. That is just a reason for them to ask you what are you doing with the connection,, bingo, you got caught.
It depends on what you bring your vehicle in for. If it is because the window won't roll down, they could care less if you programmed the ecu. Now if you blew the engine by messing with a crappy tune, then trying to trick the dealer is wrong. I have tuned cars that will no longer run on the factory tune due to aftermarket parts. If they go to the dealer and the dealer decides to flash the newest calibration data, the car will no longer run, and their tuner will be locked out. These are the people that need to put tape over the obdii port.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:08 PM   #16
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Umm...isn't it fairly easy for a dealer to see that the # of key startups since new was only one or two after the tuner returned the vehicle to stock before coming in?
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:12 PM   #17
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If it were up to me I would have never bought the warranty. The warranty just restricts my choices on aftermarket parts. But knowing me I'll end screwing up something that the warranty wont replace. So it will end rendering useless to me.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:18 PM   #18
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Umm...isn't it fairly easy for a dealer to see that the # of key startups since new was only one or two after the tuner returned the vehicle to stock before coming in?
That data is probably stored in KAM and would be reset if you unhooked the battery.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:26 PM   #19
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A custom dyno tune is ALWAYS better and any reputable shop will be happy to return you to stock tune if you have to take your Jeep in.
Yeah that would be nice but that's gonna cost a pretty penny I bet! And are you saying that they can put it back to stock without a trace? And if they could put it back are they gonna charge me to put it back on there after I get done at the shop?
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:26 PM   #20
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Here is the long and the short of it... your ECU is essentially a computer. As such it has an internal clock that is used to base calculations and engine parameters against. Pretty much the same way that your PC configures and uses Date/Time. A good example would be if you were to create a new file on your PC it is assigned a Date/Time stamp (as well as some other code that defines it to the computer's CPU) Every time you make a change to a file it's "Date/Time" stamp is updated. And its checksum becomes different from the original file even though no actual changes were made.

The same thing holds true with flashing a PC BIOS chip (which is essentially the same as flashing an ECU EPROM chip) Whenever you make a write or change to the chip you change its checksum, its these changes that can be detected and tracked as the dealer/manufacture would know and have logged the original checksum values for your vehicles ECU from when your vehicle was manufactured.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:39 PM   #21
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But a vehicles ecu does not have a date/ time parameter to base the checksum off of. That will only apply to a PC. The ecu will base the checksum off an algorithm that checks the tune parameters.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:41 PM   #22
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Yeah that would be nice but that's gonna cost a pretty penny I bet! And are you saying that they can put it back to stock without a trace? And if they could put it back are they gonna charge me to put it back on there after I get done at the shop?
If you got a dyno tune with a device like the predator you could flash it back to stock yourself in a couple minutes. IMO there is little point to get a custom dyno tune on any mostly stock vehicle. The preloaded tunes work great for 99% of the people out there. The other 1% can be checked with a datalog to make sure everything is in line or if some tweaks are necessary. (I dyno tune as my side job, but deal with mostly mustangs)
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:48 PM   #23
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If you got a dyno tune with a device like the predator you could flash it back to stock yourself in a couple minutes. IMO there is little point to get a custom dyno tune on any mostly stock vehicle. The preloaded tunes work great for 99% of the people out there. The other 1% can be checked with a datalog to make sure everything is in line or if some tweaks are necessary. (I dyno tune as my side job, but deal with mostly mustangs)
But using a predator will leave a foot print right? Can someone who does dynos clean out any footprints? Setting it as if nothing ever happened.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:48 PM   #24
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While i am not disagreeing with this... how do you know this for sure? I would think that a non-writeable parameter could not be changed by any means. What exactly do you mean by frame parameter?

Anybody with a flash tuner should ALWAYS flash back to stock before taking the vehicle in for service, or at least put red tape across the obdii port that says DO NOT FLASH.
RED tape no less, so they definitely check on it!!
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:03 PM   #25
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Yeah that would be nice but that's gonna cost a pretty penny I bet! And are you saying that they can put it back to stock without a trace? And if they could put it back are they gonna charge me to put it back on there after I get done at the shop?

Nope, they can still trace it. Any alterations to the stock tuning is going to be able to be traced with enough digging and like has been said here, if it comes down to a expensive warranty claim, they WILL look. But I figure if you're willing to drop $400 on a tuner that will marginally increase seat of the pants feel, might as well drop the same cash on a tune that's done specifically to your vehicle. Also, if you aren't worried about the warranty void from the Flashpaq, you're probably not worried about a custom tune, either.

Most dyno tunes are anywhere from $300-$600 depending on what you want out of it. I had custom tunes done on both turbo Subaru cars I had (Forester XT, Legacy GT) and they both ran $600, but I also picked up a solid 30hp at the wheels having them tuned specifically for the parts I had installed. This required a lot of time on the part of the tuner getting it to make the most power and still be safe. So labor was the biggest part. On a stock or near stock Jeep, it will probably take 1/4 of the time, but you get 1/4 of the benefit. Whether they reflash it for free or not is up to the tuner, really. Mine did because I knew the guy personally and was a repeat customer.

My opinion on hand-held tuners is invalid here, I'm just trying to present the facts. If you like the idea and have the cash, by all means. I just want people to know the risks involved and that there are better options out there. The tuner manufacturers aren't doing it, so I figure I'll take the time to share my knowledge of the subject.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:10 PM   #26
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Here's a theoretical situation: Say you install a hand held tune in your Jeep. Then, you get a check engine light. Now what? You can't take it in to the dealer with the custom tune on the PCM, so you erase all the CEL data logged. Put it back to stock and you're still getting the CEL light. What if the tuner contributed to the problem, but now that it's gone, the damage is done? The dealer is going to pull the "abuse" card in a heartbeat.
It's probably not LIKELY, but you can rarely plan for problems either.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:16 PM   #27
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But a vehicles ecu does not have a date/ time parameter to base the checksum off of. That will only apply to a PC. The ecu will base the checksum off an algorithm that checks the tune parameters.
I just used the PC as an easy analogy... the process is basically the same between them. A PC will use Date/Time, where as an ECU will use a hard coded algorithm or baseline code that was configured during manufacture. This code or algorithm is permanently imprinted on a ROM or PROM chip not an EPROM. When you make a change to your ECU you are making changes to the EPROM only. The only way to change the ROM or PROM is to physically remove the chip and replace it.

Data coded on ROMs are usually code sets that govern the operating parameters of how the PC, CPU, ECU works. They will also usually contain information such as manufacture dates, copyright info, etc. Data coded to EPROMS are usually configurable strings that add function parameters to the CP, CPU, ECU. (IE. Controlling an engine), code sets that are expected to be changed or updated by the manufacture (or in this case by the customer) to change or enhance operation of their associated function. It is these code sets that you are manipulating when you use a programmer on your ECU, NOT the original ROM programming, unless you are also cracking open your ECU and prying the ROM chip off the board and installing a new one... but that act alone would void any warrantee in existance.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:10 PM   #28
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At the end of the day, Those that want to install a tuner , will have to take the chances that go with it " Good and Bad" . No other way of looking at it. Automotive companies are stepping up their efforts on vehicle owners who abuse their vehicles , then want the dealership to fix it, and saying that the automaufactuers product is crap. This cost is now implemented in the price of new vehicles that we buy, to assist the vehicle manufactuer in this kind of warranty fraud.

Some of that money goes to new equipment at the dealership mechanic bays. It is not like the old days. With these new CAN-BUSS systems all these computers can communicate with each other and logg everything to the OBD-II Computer. Remember there are maunfactuer codes that us everyday folks who have regular scanners can not read.

Pulling the battery plugs off the battery use to be an old trick, you might think all the codes are erased,, try again, they are there for the reason of warranty claims.

The game of technology will always be a rotating circle , " Who has the upper hand" Auto manufactuers will always have more funds $$$$ over the Tuner Compnies, thus having constant upgraded technology.

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:56 PM   #29
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Data coded on ROMs are usually code sets that govern the operating parameters of how the PC, CPU, ECU works. They will also usually contain information such as manufacture dates, copyright info, etc. Data coded to EPROMS are usually configurable strings that add function parameters to the CP, CPU, ECU. (IE. Controlling an engine), code sets that are expected to be changed or updated by the manufacture (or in this case by the customer) to change or enhance operation of their associated function. It is these code sets that you are manipulating when you use a programmer on your ECU, NOT the original ROM programming, unless you are also cracking open your ECU and prying the ROM chip off the board and installing a new one... but that act alone would void any warrantee in existance.
All tuners can do is alter the eprom data, not the rom chips. The algorithm for the checksum does not change, and the dealer will have no evidence of a "footprint" if the checksums match.
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But using a predator will leave a foot print right? Can someone who does dynos clean out any footprints? Setting it as if nothing ever happened.
Chances are that the dyno tuner will not be able to do anything that the predator itself does not already do when it comes down to "footprints".

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With these new CAN-BUSS systems all these computers can communicate with each other and logg everything to the OBD-II Computer. Remember there are maunfactuer codes that us everyday folks who have regular scanners can not read.
The CAN systems still use a volatile memory that can be cleared by removal of the battery. I know there are codes that cheap scanners will not pickup. P0605 is the common one. (but that is why i will shut off the p0605 code in the tune)

With no concrete evidence on any "footprint" data on these chrysler ECUs i'm calling BS (unless someone who WORKS for chrysler has seen evidence of a "footprint"). I've been tuning fords with flash devices for 5+ years with hundreds of customers and i have never heard of a single issue were someone was denied a warranty claim due to some sort of "footprint".
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:30 PM   #30
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Correct but you are still missing the point... the data that is put back on is NOT completely identical to the data that was removed. Sure all of the actual programming might be the same but the checksum data can only be written once in any particular coded format. And the only time that the EPROM and ROM checksums will match is when they are first dealer installed

Here is simplistic example...
An ECU is manufactured and programmed... the ROM checksum is #1 the EPROM checksum is #1
The ECU is installed in a vehicle and sold. The new owner "tunes" the ECU now you have the ROM checksum at #1 and the EPROM at #2. If the vehicle is brought back to the dealer in this state they will know that the ECU has been tampered with because the EPROM programming is not OEM.

NOW...say the owner restores the previous "stock" settings now you have a ROM checksum of #1 and an EPROM checksum of #3.. In this case the dealer will still know that the ECU was tampered with because the checksum does not match the OEM checksum.

You are assuming that the checksum is backed up and saved with the stock back up but it is not. The checksum is used for 2 main functions first as an error checking mechanism and second as a change counter. Once a checksum counter is used it can never be repeated. So in the previous example no matter how many times the ECU is flashed you will never again see a #1,#2 or #3 checksum on the EPROM.

Your next question will probably be "What happens when the Dealer/Manufacturer does an update on your ECU when it is brought in for service?" That is easy: the new checksum is recorded in their system as a registered change that is now attached to your vehicle's logged service history.

You performance program ECU EPROMS... I write code, as a matter of fact I have written PLC code for multiple manufacturing entities, a couple of which were part of the big 3 here in the US. I have also written security and measurement (counters and such) code for many other companies as well.

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