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Thread: Wet ecu - hints or tips ?

  1. #1
    Registered User dave1600's Avatar
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    Wet ecu - hints or tips ?

    So, looks like mounting the ecu in the passenger footwell isn't the ideal spot in a convertible that is prone to leaks.....

    My MX5 spat the dummy 2 weeks back (cranked but no spark and injectors not firing), finally got around to looking at it on Sunday. It had water in the footwell, but I didn't realise how much - the "high tide" mark was up past the bottom of the ecu, and the ecu case had water stains. Left it drying till today, and it fired up and seems to be running OK.

    My question is - what to do now ? Should I get the ecu checked out, if so, any suggestions as to who ? Just check the connections ? Any other ideas ?

    Obvious suggestion is to just replace the ecu, but due to having an immobiliser I would need to replace the ecu, immobiliser module, keys and proximity sensor thing in the ignition barrell so I'm keen to do my best to get the old ecu checked out.

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    If it's not a daily driver, i'd open it up and clean it up as much as you can, all the contacts are wires are probably going to be toast at some stage as water would have got into them and that's a bigger problem than an ECU as you don't want to replace the whole loom.

    Not sure who sells it these days (jaycar??) but some form of contact cleaner would be a good start, open it up if you can and clean it out if you can... And then hope. It might work for years... It might not!

  3. #3
    Registered User dave1600's Avatar
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    It is my daily drive-to-work and weekend fun car, but not the main family car. Time to start looking for contact cleaner and cross my fingers......

  4. #4
    2jz crank bolt ftl pH@tTm@N's Avatar
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    Yeap, and buy a shit load of rice and sit it inside a bag with it everywhere after you contact clean it. Good luck.
    "And I know that arseholes grow on trees but I'm here to trim the leaves" Peeping Tom, Mike Patton

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    Soak in metho, or even better isopropyl alcohol. Use a new clean toothbrush to clean away any corrosion, blast dry with compressed air.

    Drill holes in floor so cannot flood again.
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    No I'm Not Shonky Shonky's Avatar
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    Or straight alcohol. Water by itself isn't so bad but that water will be full of yuck which ultimately cause corrosion. That's what you're trying to get out. Get in there with a toothbrush and clean it best you can as well as the terminals on both ECU and wiring harness - particularly since they were on the bottom. The alcohol will evaporate. ECUs sometimes have conformal coatings which is helpful but clearly if it didn't work at least for a bit the water was getting onto something important.

    Do NOT use WD40

    Edit: Beaten by Jack

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    Registered User THE CHIEF's Avatar
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    I've run a heavily corroded circuit board through a dishwasher at 55 coz cunts on the internet told me too. Help get a lot of it off and then did the whole contact cleaner toothbrush compressed air procedure. Worked fine for years. As long as you get any corrosion off and make sure it's all dried really good, you should be ok whichever course of action you take. Def need to make sure it doesn't happen again, agree with drill method mentioned above.

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    Convicted User data_mine's Avatar
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    aren't ECU's waterproof, every one I've see is. The the box itself isn't, the board will be epoxied, or potted.

    the problem is probably the loom, corrosion on the terminals etc, as covered above.
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    Does this look waterproof to you?

    Jaguar XJR, Freelander 2 HSE, Jaguar XKR

    Quote Originally Posted by Marv View Post
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  10. #10
    anyone? MRMOPARMAN's Avatar
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    Some are covered in epoxy rubber like shit, but definately not all, not something id risk with water anyways.

    Id chuck the ecu in a jar of rice.
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  11. #11
    2jz crank bolt ftl pH@tTm@N's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOPARMAN View Post
    Some are covered in epoxy rubber like shit, but definately not all, not something id risk with water anyways.

    Id chuck the ecu in a jar of rice.
    That epoxy rubber shit is called potting. Often alone that wont be water proof and needs drying out. Often a waterproofing spray over everything is better, or used in addition.

    Uncooked rice absorbs the moisture. I have used it before on servers that definitely aren't built to go under water. Works faster in oven bag and around 60 degrees for a few hours.
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    Registered User mad_cow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pH@tTm@N View Post
    That epoxy rubber shit is called potting. Often alone that wont be water proof and needs drying out. Often a waterproofing spray over everything is better, or used in addition.

    Uncooked rice absorbs the moisture. I have used it before on servers that definitely aren't built to go under water. Works faster in oven bag and around 60 degrees for a few hours.
    And a microwave will do it in a few minutes!

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    Or put it in a warm oven for a few hours, salt to taste and re-install.

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    Registered User THE CHIEF's Avatar
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    Some tasty recipes there

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    Registered User 50RTD's Avatar
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    MMM slow cooked PCB in a red wine jus

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    2jz crank bolt ftl pH@tTm@N's Avatar
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    Hey it got 6 severs working until the replacements arrived
    "And I know that arseholes grow on trees but I'm here to trim the leaves" Peeping Tom, Mike Patton

  17. #17
    Hungry Hungry Hippo Tripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shonky View Post

    Do NOT use WD40
    You know that you can run a engine on WD40
    you cant spell advertisements without semen between the tits

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    Registered User dave1600's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the tips (useful or not !!!!). Its all dried out, water looks like it stopped about 5mm short of any electronics on the PCB, only got to the plugs / connections coming out of the ecu. Cleaned everything up with contact cleaner / toothbrush, new carpet underfelt, put it all back together and its going as good as ever (except for what seems like failing clutch hydraulics now ).

    Water leak seems to have been caused by getting a new softtop fitted late last year after the old one was slashed. MX5's have this great idea where water running off the softtop is channeled down into a plastic "gutter" inside the shell which then disposes of the water through a 15-ish mm drainhole that runs from basically the parcel shelf area (ie inside the body shell) down through a drain tube running through the body of the car and dumping on the ground. The trimmers seem to have left an Xmas tree trim clip floating around which ended up in this drain, completely blocking it. Once the drain is blocked, water just runs down behind the seat and into the passenger footwell.

    Pulled the clip out of the drain, run a trombone cleaner (essential special tool for MX5 owners) through the drain tube and all seems good.
    Last edited by dave1600; 02-05-17 at 09:21 AM.

  19. #19
    Registered User irsa76's Avatar
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    Yeah, as said before, provided the board has no corrosion it should be ok. Dad's old A4 drowned it's ECU, due to blocked plenum drains and they dried it out and it was fine. The ECU was completely submerged, although I think Audi did have some form of waterproofing due to the location of the ECU. Fwiw, I killed an alarm ECU and had issues with the engine ECU on my Mazda due to dust ingress, alarm was a bin job, engine ECU was blow out the and tape up the seam.

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    Registered User old_geez's Avatar
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