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Common Reasons for Failure in Engine Control Modules

Corrosion and moisture

Corrosion or damage due to moisture is one of the main reasons for ECM failure. Corrosion can enter the ECM through the wiring harness and moisture can enter by a failure in the seals in the ECM itself. This happens over a period of time (5 to 10 years) due to the ECMs exposure to the elements.

Fuel solenoid

The electronic fuel solenoid is also a main reason for failure in the ECM. The solenoid can cause a short in the ECM due to corrosion in the solenoid or the wire running from the solenoid to the ECM harness. The electronic fuel solenoid is located at the top of the fuel pump. The solenoid seems to fail due to corrosion as fast or faster then the ECM. If your truck is running fine then you shut your engine off and it won’t restart then this is a good indication that the starter has shorted out the ECM.

Need ECM Help?

Our ECM experts are here to take your call from 6:00am to 4:30pm Pacific (9:00am to 7:30pm Eastern), Monday to Friday.
Toll-Free: 1-855-326-8863
Email: [email protected]

Supreme Service

Your satisfaction is guaranteed and backed by warranty and our dedicated staff of engineers and technicians. Find out more about J-Ball Supreme Service.

J-Ball Electronics has a large selection of ECMs for commercial trucks

J-Ball Electronics has a large inventory of reconditioned ECMs for commercial trucks ready to ship.

Injector wiring harness

The third thing that can cause failure in the ECM is the Injector wiring harness or the sensor wiring harness. Once again corrosion or breaks in the internal wiring in the harness can cause a short in the ECM or corrosion can enter the ECM through the wiring harness. Again this is caused by exposure to the elements.

Grounding issues

Another issue that can cause failure in the ECM is poor grounding. This can be the result of loose or corroded ground wires to the battery or the frame. This is especially problematic in the Celect Plus model.


Replacing the starter with the wrong model starter is becoming a big problem with the Celect Plus ECMs. Many starter rebuilders will bypass the override sensor in the starter. The override sensor regulates the voltage going to the ECM so when the override sensor is bypassed you will get voltage problems in the ECM and it can generate fault codes or other problems. If you only started having problems with your ECM after installing a starter then the starter is most likely the root of your problem.

Dead battery cells

Dead cells in batteries can cause failure in the ECM. Many times a battery is left in the rig long after a cell has died. This affects the grounding in the battery.

Jump start

If the vehicle has been jump started recently and the cables were connected improperly this can cause a spike in your ECM and cause it to short out. A bad jump can also blow out 2 amps which are located between the ECM and the firewall.

Welding and lightning

Arc welding on the frame can blow out the ECM as well as lightning strikes. This is not very common but it does happen from time to time.

Identifying the problem

If your check engine light is on then you should be able to read a fault code from your ECM. The fault codes should help identify where the problem is originating from. You can also check the voltage where the wires come into the ECM harness with a voltmeter. The voltage should be between 9 to 12 volts for optimal usage. Anything 6 or below and you have a problem.

Need Help with your ECM?

J-Ball Electronicshas 15 years diagnosing and troubleshooting ECMs and we stock a large inventory of reconditioned ECMs. Call J-Ball Electronics toll free at 1-855-326-8863 or use the form below to have one of our technicians contact you.

Diesel Diagnostic Software

Check out our range of diesel diagnostic tools, diesel laptops and diagnostic scanner tools to troubleshoot your heavy duty commercial truck, off-highway construction and agriculture equipment.
TEXA Diagnostic Scanner

TEXA Diagnostic Scanner

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Custom ECM Tuning for Race / Sled Pulling Diesels

J-Ball is now offering Custom ECM Tuning for Race and Sled Pulling applications for Cat, Cummins and Detroit Diesel. In off-highway applications you need all the horsepower and torque that can be pulled from your big diesel. Our engineers are experienced in race tune programming and themselves race in big rig oval and drag racing.
Call our technicians for details and pricing 1-855-326-8863 or fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you.

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Custom Diesel Tuning for Most Engine Makes

We can custom tune the ECM for following diesel engines:

  • All Cummins engines
  • All Caterpillar engines
  • All Detroit engines
  • All Paccar engines
  • Some Mercedes engines
  • Some International engines
  • Mack and Volvo with DPF/DEF
  • And more!

We also provide diesel ECM tuning for improved fuel efficiency for off-highway applications such as construction equipment, farm equipment and marine vessels.
Working for the working man (and woman), J-Ball Electronics ECM tuning will help you put more money in your pocket each day but reducing fuel consumption of your big diesel.
Call 1-855-326-8863 to talk to our knowledgeable staff or fill in the form below and we’ll call you back.

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Dealers Wanted

Join the J-Ball Electronics Partnership

Do more than other local truck/equipment service shops. Offer your customers ECM tuning for fuel mileage upgrades, power upgrades, read engine fault codes, do engine tests and change regular parameter settings such as max speed limit, tire sizes and custom tuning for emission systems.
Make extra money at your shop:

  • No overhead
  • No need to stock thousands of dollars in parts like the competition has you do (ie: manifolds and turbos)
  • Dealers get volume discounts!

To become a bonafide J-Ball Electronics Inc. dealer all that’s required is a diagnostic computer kit!
Call us toll free 1-855-ECM-TUNE (1-855-326-8863) or fill in the form below and we’ll call you with more information.

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Custom tuning available for Paccar and MaxxForce

J-Ball Electronics now offers custom diesel ECM tuning for Paccar MX 13 (ECM module must be sent to us) and International MaxxForce 13 (ECM module must be sent to us).
Tuning your diesel ECM will result in increased horsepower and torque while at the same time will reduce fuel consumption. ECM tuning also improves reliability and durability of your diesel engine, reducing or completely eliminating the downtime that many truckers have b become all too familiar with.
Call J-Ball Electronics today toll-free at 1-855-326-8863, or fill out the form below to find out how you can improve performance and reduce your diesel fuel bill.

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Detroit Diesel & Mercedes Emission Engines

J-Ball Electronics provides ECM tuning for the following Detroit Diesel and Mercedes emission engines:

  • Detroit DD13
  • Detroit DD15
  • Detroit DD16
  • Mercedes MBE 900
  • Mercedes MBE 4000

To custom tune engines with EGR and DPF systems we need the ‘MCM’ Motor Control Module and the ‘CPC’ Common Powertrain Controller sent to us.

To custom tune engines with EGR – DPF – EDF (Urea) systems we need the MCM, ACM Aftertreatment Control Module and CPC sent to us. See what the MCM, ACM and CPC look like and where they are typically located.
Find out more information on Detroit Diesel and Mercedes engines, call 1-855-326-8863 or fill in the form below and we’ll call you back.

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CAT C7, C9, C13 & C15 Custom ECM Tuning

J-Ball Electronics can custom tune your Caterpillar C7, C9, C13 and C15 engines over the internet. ECM Tuning your CAT engine will deliver increases in horsepower and torque while reducing your fuel consumption 5% to 20%. ECM tuning your big diesel will make it run cooler, increase reliability and reduce downtime.
Your truck should be making you money not parked in the shop, find out how online diesel ECM tuning is done.
Call 1-855-326-8863 to speak to our knowledgeable staff or fill in the form below and we’ll call you back.

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Diesel Exhaust Modification of EGR/DPF/DEF

Understanding today’s emission systems and complex electronic engine controls can be a real chore, even for us experts. Chances are you’re reading this article because you are having trouble with your EGR/DPF/DEF systems. This article will help you understand how they work and provide options for tuning your truck for better performance and fuel economy.
Today’s engines are controlled by an Electronic Control Module. It’s a computer linked to the vehicle by sensors and switches. This allows for intelligent monitoring and control and allows the engine to adapt to driving requirements or environmental changes such as higher altitude. Stage 1 of every truck modification start’s here. Just retuning your engine can achieve big horsepower and torque gains or better fuel economy and drivability.
Stage two begins with a look at your vehicles aftertreatment systems. There are 3 systems currently used.
EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation)
An electronically controlled valve permits a small amount of vehicle exhaust to mix with the intake air stream. Less air in the cylinder during combustion means less fuel required, lower combustion temperatures, and improved emissions.

DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter)
Approximately every 8 hours of driving use plugs the filter substrate and your vehicle goes into “REGEN MODE”. This means your truck dumps extra fuel down the exhaust stream, which ignites, causing flames to travel down the exhaust pipe through the DPF and burn the trapped particulate material. During this process your exhaust can exceed temperatures of 1100 degrees and may reduce the life of all attached components. For reference, the valves inside your engine begin to melt after 950 degrees and the REGEN process may last up to 45 minutes.

DEF / UREA (Diesel Exhaust Fluid)
The newest emissions reduction system adds another tank on your truck. This tank is filled with Diesel Exhaust Fluid or UREA. This is a mixture of 30% urea, a compound derived from urine, and water. When your exhaust pipe is hot, the fluid is injected and vaporizes. This high temperature causes the urea to form ammonia. The ammonia acts as a catalyst with exhaust gasses reducing them to less harmful compounds.

Ready to tune your ECM?

Depending on the changes you request, you may be required to purchase some additional equipment to ensure your truck runs smoothly. For example, if you want to remove your Diesel Particulate Filter and delete it from your ECM, you will need to purchase a J-ball DPF Replacement Canister.
Many people are tempted to simply hollow out this filter, however this mistake can cause catastrophic failure. The exhaust is designed to have sufficient backpressure to keep your turbo from over-spooling. On average your turbo provides 30-40 PSI of boost, with no backpressure your turbo can over-spool before the governor can kick in to limit the RPM of the turbo. Short RPM spikes due to over-spooling can reduce the lifespan of your turbo and surrounding components.
Failure to follow J-Ball recommended procedures for the exhaust system of your vehicle will void the ECM tuning warranty.

EGR Valve Plug Kit
If you use your vehicle off-road or race at the track you want to squeeze every last horsepower out of your engine. To achieve maximum performance removing the exhaust gas recirculation valve allows your combustion chamber pressure to operate at maximum output. This also lowers internal engine temperatures because cool intake air is not contaminated with hot exhaust gasses.
Our EGR delete kit comes complete with plates, clamps, seals and hardware to insure easy installation.
*Kit shown is for Cummins ISX Engines*
Call 1-855-326-8863 for more information on emission deletion tuning for off-highway and racing applications.
J-Ball Electronics will NOT be held liable for ANY costs incurred as a result of modifications outside OEM specifications.
Please be advised that any truck modifications outside OEM specifications will void warranties, and as the customer you take full responsibility for all costs incurred as such. The customer must be aware of all operational requirements for legal use in their country and any ECM modification tuning done by J-Ball Electronics is strictly for off-highway, racing or sled pulling competition.

The customer hereby waives all legal rights and understands J-Ball Electronics, its employees, sub-contractors and business associates will not be held liable for any reason.

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Custom ECM Tuning for Diesel Engines

Are you tired of spending more time at the dealership or repair shops than on the road? Custom tuning your ECM can reduce or eliminate downtime while increasing horsepower and torque with noticeable improvements in performance and throttle response. ECM Tuning also delivers improved fuel efficiency as a tuned ECM lets you turn down RPMs to do the same task or lets you pull higher gears up hills and cuts down on grabbing gears to climb hills.

ECM Tuning for most makes of trucks, construction and agriculture equipment.

In the age of multi-national corporations and globalization, your truck or equipment likely uses the same diesel engine as other makes and models of equipment. Manufacturers make small changes to the components on the engine and programming of the ECM but there are still significant improvements to power and efficiency through ECM tuning.
J-Ball Electronics has a one year no quibble warranty on all ECM tuning and ask about the 3 year warranty on our Custom Tuning Bundle.
Call 1-855-326-8863 or fill in the form below for more information.

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Cash paid for Cat, Cummins & Detroit ECMs

We’re always looking for good running ECM units for Cat, Cummins & Detroit Diesel engines. To maintain our inventory and so we can provide fast turnaround we pay cash for good running ECMs, contact us if you have an ECM for sale.
Call 1-855-326-8863 or fill in the form below and we’ll call you back.

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