ECU, Power steering, Air-cond problem

Green06

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Green06

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Apr 17, 2006
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Dear all MR2 bros & Sis,
I would like to share my experience wrt to main ECU, power steering and air conditioning controls ECU that have plaqued many MR2 owners for a long time. I have been thru like many owners with burnt main ECU , intermittent functioning power steering and clicking air-cons comp. for some years to finally found the culprit after went thru 3 burnt ECU ( managed to save 2 ECU ).
In fact most of the MR2s have been 20+ years old and the electronics parts have also aged especially those little e-caps. Thats the culprit that caused burnt ECU and crazy frustrating power steering intermittently. This e-caps have a designed shelf life of 8 years and most MR2 cars have at least 20 years in service and those e-caps leaks internally that causes short in the circuit that caused the ECU PCB track to burnt. I personally have stranded on the road because of these damn e-caps. Anyway they are supposed to be changed out periodically says every 5 years , for sake of drivability. I managed to replaced 2 out of 3 main ECU units and back to full service except one ECU PCB track was too badly burnt beyond repair ( e-caps leaks internally and caused direct short intermittently initially and will finally short out fully ). Same goes to power steering and air-cons ECU. There wasn't many e-caps in them 5 - 10 the most and they are cheap, cost from a few ringgits to about 15 ringgits the most. The work to replace them needs a bit of simple soldering skill. I would suggest to remove the ECU boxes and get the electrical repair shop to change them out for you if you can't do it yourself. It would cost less than 100 ringgit each.
DON"T WASTE TIME switching your key trying to get your power steering to work, I have been thru that. It is causing more wear and tear on your ignition switch. It is not the contacts oxidation, believe me you can strip it and you will find the contacts are perfectly clean and by that time you have ruin it.
If your are adventurous you can replace the relay to contactless solid state switch module if you are worried of contact fouling.

Well you can alternatively buy a second hand ECU from the chop shop but again it may last for a few years (if you are lucky) and they cause you probably 500 to 600+ ringgit for each box.The best and assured way is to remove your original ECU and get someone to replace those damn e-caps and you will be sure and sound for next 5 to 10 years without any trouble.Furthermore MR2 is getting less and less and the chop shop parts are getting less and probably hard to find and the price they ask will be lot higher.
BTW my main ECU is a self repaired unit and I have been using it for a couple of years now, no problem. I replaced those nasty e-caps and repair the burnt PCB tracks and they are as good as new. Remember to change out those e-caps regularly every 5 to 10 years and you will be loving your 2s forever.
Another thing to share is, the alternator. Instead of buying chop shop used unit which is aged and unreliable, why not replace with new one.Also went thru a few chop shop units that last a short time with bad regulators and burnt diodes. Toyota Land Cruiser II used the same unit. It is a direct drop in and they are 100+ amps too. You can buy them new from the spare part shop. Please remember all parts are designed for 15 years max. so better get new one if you can rather than having headache with used one.
Hope my bad experiences will help others...........this applies to other old cars too.
Enjoy your 2s............happy driving.:driver:
 

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Green06

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Green06

Known Member
Senior Member
Apr 17, 2006
139
14
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Pahang
These are photos of the power steering ECUs. There are not many e-caps in there, most is 8 pcs.
Get them replaced and your power steering issue solved. These caps are cheap, cost a few cent each to a ringgit or more. Why pay 400 to 500+ ringgit for chop shop and no clue how long they will last. Buy replacing your ECu's e-caps you will be trouble free for many years.............:love:
 

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vr2turbo

Beyond 20,000 RPM!
Helmet Clan
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vr2turbo

Beyond 20,000 RPM!
Helmet Clan
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May 11, 2010
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My VR ECU caps leak and destroy the PCB already. Tried changing the caps but too late. This was like 13 years back....lol
 

Green06

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Green06

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Apr 17, 2006
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Hi vr2rurbo,
PCB copper track burnt? Not able to repair it? When the e-caps leaks and shorted out internally thats why it causes the copper track to burn. Imagine you have 12Vdc shorted to ground thru the tiny copper track.......:mad:
Worst when it happened in the mid of your distance drive especially if it is at night. You get stranded by the road side.:bawling: Lesson learnt, try to do preventive maintenance before its too late especially old cars, I mean not too old, I would said 5 years and above start planning now. :wavey:
 

vr2turbo

Beyond 20,000 RPM!
Helmet Clan
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vr2turbo

Beyond 20,000 RPM!
Helmet Clan
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May 11, 2010
29,454
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1,713
Petaling Jaya
That time, not much social media. Friend tried to help but was too late to save.....:bawling: